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Articles by R. A Levine
Total Records ( 4 ) for R. A Levine
  J. P Dal Bianco , E Aikawa , J Bischoff , J. L Guerrero , M. D Handschumacher , S Sullivan , B Johnson , J. S Titus , Y Iwamoto , J Wylie Sears , R. A Levine and A. Carpentier

Background— In patients with left ventricular infarction or dilatation, leaflet tethering by displaced papillary muscles frequently induces mitral regurgitation, which doubles mortality. Little is known about the biological potential of the mitral valve (MV) to compensate for ventricular remodeling. We tested the hypothesis that MV leaflet surface area increases over time with mechanical stretch created by papillary muscle displacement through cell activation, not passive stretching.

Methods and Results— Under cardiopulmonary bypass, the papillary muscle tips in 6 adult sheep were retracted apically short of producing mitral regurgitation to replicate tethering without confounding myocardial infarction or turbulence. Diastolic leaflet area was quantified by 3-dimensional echocardiography over 61±6 days compared with 6 unstretched sheep MVs. Total diastolic leaflet area increased by 2.4±1.3 cm2 (17±10%) from 14.3±1.9 to 16.7±1.9 cm2 (P=0.006) with stretch with no change in the unstretched valves despite sham open heart surgery. Stretched MVs were 2.8 times thicker than normal (1.18±0.14 versus 0.42±0.14 mm; P<0.0001) at 60 days with an increased spongiosa layer. Endothelial cells (CD31+) coexpressing -smooth muscle actin were significantly more common by fluorescent cell sorting in tethered versus normal leaflets (41±19% versus 9±5%; P=0.02), indicating endothelial-mesenchymal transdifferentiation. -Smooth muscle actin–positive cells appeared in the atrial endothelium, penetrating into the interstitium, with increased collagen deposition. Thickened chordae showed endothelial and subendothelial -smooth muscle actin. Endothelial-mesenchymal transdifferentiation capacity also was demonstrated in cultured MV endothelial cells.

Conclusions— Mechanical stresses imposed by papillary muscle tethering increase MV leaflet area and thickness, with cellular changes suggesting reactivated embryonic developmental pathways. Understanding such actively adaptive mechanisms can potentially provide therapeutic opportunities to augment MV area and reduce ischemic mitral regurgitation.

  J Solis , D McCarty , R. A Levine , M. D Handschumacher , L Fernandez Friera , A Chen Tournoux , L Mont , B Vidal , J. P Singh , J Brugada , M. H Picard , M Sitges and J. Hung

Background— Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) has been shown to reduce functional mitral regurgitation (MR). It has been proposed that the mechanism of MR reduction relates to geometric change or, alternatively, changes in left ventricular (LV) contractile function. Normal mitral valve (MV) function relies on a balance between tethering and closing forces on the MV leaflets. Functional MR results from a derangement of this force–balance relationship, and CRT may be an important modulator of MV function by its ability to enhance the force–balance relationship on the MV. We hypothesized that CRT improves the comprehensive force balance acting on the valve, including favorable changes in both geometry and LV contractile function.

Methods and Results— We examined the effect of CRT on 34 patients with functional MR before and after CRT (209±81 days). MR regurgitant volume, closing forces on MV (derived from Doppler transmitral pressure gradients), including dP/dt and a factor (closing pressure ratio) expressing how long the peak closing gradient is maintained over systole (closing pressure ratio=velocity time integral/MR peak velocityxmitral regurgitation time), and dyssynchrony by tissue Doppler were measured. End-diastolic volume, end-systolic volume, mitral valve annular area (MAA) and contraction (percent change in MAA from end-diastole to midsystole), leaflet closing area (leaflet area during valve closure), and tenting volume (volume under leaflets to annular plane) were measured by 3D echocardiography. After CRT, end-diastolic volume (253±111 versus 221±110 mL, P<0.001) and end-systolic volume (206±97 versus 167±91 mL, P<0.001) decreased and ejection fraction (19±6 versus 27±9%, P<0.001) increased. MR regurgitant volume decreased from 35±17 to 23±14 mL (P<0.001), MAA from 11.6±3.5 to 10.5±3.1 cm2 (P<0.001), leaflet closing area from 15.4±5 to 13.7±3.8 cm2 (P<0.001), and tenting volume from 5.7±2.6 to 4.6±2.2 mL (P<0.001). Peak velocity (and therefore transmitral closing pressure) was more sustained throughout systole, as reflected by the increase in the closing pressure ratio (0.77±0.1 versus 0.84±0.1 before CRT versus after CRT, P=0.01); dP/dt also improved after CRT. There was no change in dyssynchrony or MAA contraction.

Conclusions— Reduction in MR after CRT is associated with favorable changes in MV geometry and closing forces on the MV. It does so by favorably affecting the force balance acting on the MV in 2 ways: reducing tethering through reversal of LV remodeling and increasing the systolic duration of peak transmitral closing pressures.

  J Solis , R. A Levine , B Johnson , J. L Guerrero , M. D Handschumacher , S Sullivan , K Lam , J Berlin , G. J. C Braithwaite , O. K Muratoglu , G. J Vlahakes and J. Hung

Ischemic mitral regurgitation (MR) results from displacement of the papillary muscles caused by ischemic ventricular distortion. Progressive left ventricular (LV) remodeling has challenged therapy. Our hypothesis is that repositioning of the papillary muscles can be achieved by injection of polyvinyl-alcohol (PVA) hydrogel polymer into the myocardium in chronic MR despite advanced LV remodeling.

Methods and Results—

Ten sheep underwent ligation of the circumflex branches to produce chronic ischemic MR over 8 weeks. PVA was injected into the myocardium underlying the infarcted papillary muscle. Two-dimensional and 3D echocardiograms and hemodynamic data were obtained before infarct (baseline), before PVA (chronic MR), and after PVA. PVA injection significantly decreased MR from moderate to severe to trace (MR vena contracta, 5.8±1.2 to1.8±1.3 mm; chronic MR to post-PVA stage; P=0.0003). This was associated with a decrease in infarcted papillary muscle–to–mitral annulus tethering distance (30.3±5.7 to 25.9±4.6 mm, P=0.02), tenting volume (1.8±0.7 to 1.4±0.5 mL, P=0.01), and leaflet closure area (8.8±1.3 cm2to 7.6±1.3 cm2, P=0.004) from chronic MR to post-PVA stages. PVA was not associated with significant decreases in LV ejection fraction (41±3% versus 40±3%, P=NS), end-systolic elastance, (82±36 ms to 72±26, P=NS), or LV stiffness coefficient (0.05±0.04 to 0.03±0.01).


PVA hydrogel injections improve coaptation and reduce remodeling in chronic MR without impairing LV systolic and diastolic function. This new approach offers a potential alternative for relieving tethering and ischemic MR by correcting papillary muscle position.

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